Research In Motion (RIM) today officially announced a keyboard accessory for its PlayBook tablet. Called simply the BlackBerry Mini Keyboard (for the BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet), it features a full QWERTY keyboard, integrated touchpad and incorporates a folio case to keep both tablet and keyboard protected.
The Mini Keyboard connects to the tablet via Bluetooth, using a secure 128-bit encrypted mode to keep your key strokes secure. While it doesn't feature a battery that will also charge the tablet, like the Asus Transformer range, it does use a microUSB socket, so can charge off the same adapter as the tablet. The battery will also last 30 days between charges.
The keyboard and touchpad should be fully supported by both native and 3rd party apps, so you're ready to go for things like word processing in Documents To Go or controlling your work PC through a Citrix client. When active the keyboard will also hide the onscreen keyboard.
Multi-touch gestures are also supported by the touchpad with a single finger tap eliciting a 'left-click' response, a two-finger tap producing a right-click and two finger up and down swipes will scroll vertically.
Available for international pre-order from www.shopblackberry.com, the Mini Keyboard costs a rather hefty US$119.99.
We're hoping to get a sample in asap for review but in the mean time let us know your thoughts in the comments.